Research Methodology

Project Description

The purpose of this project is to provide a holistic view of digital community engagement in Australia today. It will seek to uncover best practice approaches, challenges and opportunities in digital community engagement in Australia. 


  • Strengthen the engagement network by involving IAP2 practitioners in defining the scope of the research and what data is most important to them.
  • Develop a useful, evidence based, resource for those wanting to implement digital community engagement in their practice.
  • Identify case studies that demonstrate the value, successes, and challenges of using digital community engagement tools.





Online peer review of methodology using Harava IAP2 practitioners Help define goals of research. Identify key question/topics/themes. Identify case studies.
Online survey IAP2 practitioners, Wider practitioner network Collect comparable quantitative and qualitative data. Identify case studies.
Case study interviews IAP2 practitioners. Wider practitioner network Collect qualitative information about people’s experiences. Ideally from different sectors and states.
Desktop/documentary research   Identify existing documents, online articles, case studies etc that can support research.

Communication Channels

  • Email/E-newsletters
  • Online communities
  • Social media
  • Web presence
  • Events
  • Word of mouth

Expected Outcomes

  • The research will be made available to IAP2 members in various formats a webinar, a downloadable report and a presentation of key findings. Results will also be shared with the wider network of participants.
  • Quantitative and qualitative evidence that can inform our use of technology in engagement projects and help to foster more connected communities.


  • Phase One IAP2 practitioners
  • Phase Two, three, four: IAP2 practitioners plus any groups or individuals who have a role in public participation, community or stakeholder engagement in Australia (wider practitioner network).

Strengths & Weaknesses

Whilst this research is focused on approaches to digital engagement, consideration will be given to how it sits within the wider context of community engagement practice. However, due to limited time, this will rely to some extent on existing research.

The sample audience will be limited to Australia with some desktop research of international examples. International benchmarking may not be possible within this research but may be something to consider for a follow up study.

Sample Research Questions


  • Who is responsible for planning and implementing your digital community engagement activities?
  • How embedded is community engagement within your organisation? Does this impact the adoption of digital tools for engagement?
  • What is a low-cost digital community engagement activity that has worked well?
  • How do you best integrate online and face-to-face community engagement activities? Can you share an example of when they have complemented each other well?
  • What might be a barrier to using technology in community engagement projects?

Expected Timeframes

(Last Update: 08/08/2018)




Phase One: Consultation with IAP2 members to inform and finalise the scope of research

Survey open: 9th August - 1st September 2018

Phase Two: Survey IAP2 network and wider stakeholder groups 17th September - 31st December 2018
Phase Three: Final report January - February 2019
Phase Four: A webinar and an event in Melbourne March - April 2019